If this is your first time on a trip, you might be wondering what is the largest luggage size for check-in bags. Luggage that is 28 inches might not fit all your belongings and the other things you need for your trip, but is a 29- or 32-inch luggage already oversized?
This article will touch upon the subject of size and weight limits airlines have for checked luggage so that you are familiar with them. You will also learn how to measure a luggage’s linear size so you can estimate the height of the bag you need to buy.
What Are the Most Common Size and Weight Limits for Checked Luggage?
Most airlines will allow passengers to have one checked luggage that is within their required size and weight limit. While this will also vary depending on the airline, in general, airlines require a maximum weight limit of 50 or 70 pounds per checked bag and a maximum bag size of 62 linear inches. Approximately, a bag that measures 62 linear (or total) inches is around 27 x 21 x 14 inches.
If you go beyond the required size limit that the airline places on your bags, you don’t need to worry! You will most likely still be allowed to take your additional bag or oversized bag along. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that they might charge extra fees for this. And knowing how airlines operate, they can be quite expensive.
Before you fly, and even as you are in the planning stages of your trip, it’s best to check with the airlines. Make sure you know the exact details of your flight—all the way down to what the baggage restrictions are—to avoid having to pay unnecessary fees.
Instead of Height, Measure Linear Inches (Height + Width + Depth)
When travelers search for checked bags to buy, the easiest mistake they often make is measuring just the height. That’s why it’s easy to think that bags anywhere between 28 to 32 inches can serve as checked luggage, only to find that some of them are bigger than expected. As a result, some travelers who buy some of the bigger luggage end up having to pay excess baggage fees.
This is because airlines calculate checked luggage (as well as in carry-on luggage) in linear inches, meaning the total dimensions of the whole luggage, wheels and handle included. When you are searching for a bag or you’re in a travel shop and checking the various sizes of the bags there, don’t just ask for the dimensions of the height. Ask for the height, plus the width, plus the depth.
Don’t forget to include the wheels, soft handles, and even retractable handles as well. When you add all three of these together, you’ll get the linear measurement of the bag.
Since most airlines require a linear measurement of 62 inches, bags that go beyond this will most likely be subject to additional fees. Even if some airlines may allow a few more inches, it’s better to get checked luggage that is 62 inches or under so you can use them across all airlines.
Is 28, 29, 30, 31, or 32-Inch Luggage Generally Considered Oversized?
While 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32-inch luggage have more or less the same dimensions, there are some that add a few inches in their width and depth. In general, suitcases that are 28 inches high are all within the 62 linear inch limit.
For suitcases that have a height between 29 to 30 inches, it depends on the width and depth. Some of them are still within the 62 linear inch limit, while others go over a bit. Most 32-inch suitcases, however, are oversized and go beyond the required limit.
If you’re looking for something that you are sure will not be considered oversized, it’s best to stick with something that is 28 inches in height or at least 29 or 31 inches, especially if you’re looking for something a bit bigger.
What’s the Largest Luggage Size for Check-In?
If you’re doing some bag shopping just before your trip and want to look for the biggest checked luggage possible without going over the required limit of 62 linear inches, look for a bag that is 29 or 30 inches in height. Anything over that will be above the limit that airlines require.
Of course, there could be some exceptions with 29- and 30-inch luggage measuring more than 62 linear inches. If that’s your concern, you can check all the dimensions just to make sure you are within the airline luggage measurement limit or get one that is 28 inches in height. That way, you are sure that it won’t exceed the requirement of 62 linear inches.
How Strict Are Airlines About Checked Luggage Size in Reality?
It depends. Some airlines are really strict about checked baggage size, while others are more lenient and will let you through even if your checked luggage is a bit heavier or a bit bigger than required. Some travelers have found that international carriers tend to be stricter in terms of baggage size while domestic airlines are a little bit more lenient.
Of course, it’s best to check and it’s best to be safe by getting luggage within the required weight. If you have absolutely no option but to bring luggage that is a few inches oversized, you can just opt to pay the overweight/oversized luggage fee or hope that the few inches won’t make that big of a difference.
Can You Bring Oversized Objects As Checked Luggage?
Some airlines will allow various oversized objects as checked luggage. This can include the following:
- Sporting goods and equipment
- Musical instruments
- Mobility aids (wheelchairs)
- Assistive devices (travel oxygen, walkers, crutches, etc.)
- Items for babies and young children (strollers, infant car seat)
This, however, will vary depending on the airline and the item you are bringing. Before you go on your flight, make sure to check with them. In case they do require an excess baggage fee, this might help you decide if you will still bring it or if it will be wiser to rent a similar item when you get to your destination.
Luggage shopping is easy to do as long as you know what you want and what you’re looking for. Fortunately, there are so many different kinds of suitcases and travel bags that come in different shapes and sizes. The next time you’re tempted to overthink when you’re shopping for your luggage, just remember to compute the linear measurement of the whole bag. If it falls within 62 linear inches, then you’re safe and can get that dream bag you’ve always wanted.
When in doubt, remember that it’s best to be on the safe side. You don’t want to take all your belongings to the airport, only to find that you have to pay for the extra few inches in your luggage. And just to be very sure, remember that you can search what an airline’s specific luggage requirements are, or even call them to check, so you can plan what you will pack with no difficulty at all.